The new look
Denver Nuggets began the post-Carmelo era in fine fashion but tonight it’s the Celtics
without their new Knick-mates, they tamed the Grizzlies, 120-107, in front of an
appreciative home crowd on Tuesday night.
While Carmelo Anthony may have been the big name dealt to the Knicks for
a slew of players and some choice draft picks, the sentimental favorite leaving
the Mile High City was veteran point guard Chauncey Billups. “Mr. Big Shot”, a five-time NBA All-Star,
will join Carmelo in New York but his heart will remain in Denver. However, tonight the Denver fans will get an
opportunity to see the rebuilt Denver Nuggets tip off against one of the league’s
Celtics (41-14 SU, 26-26-3 ATS) watched their Atlantic division rivals, the New
York Knicks, get an overhaul courtesy of the Nuggets but the front office
didn’t appear concerned enough to pull the trigger on any deals of their
The Celtics have compiled a 41-14
record and coach Doc Rivers seems content that general manager Danny Ainge has
stayed the course and not responded to the Knicks sudden improvement with a big
deal of his own. The only help the
Celtics are looking for as the trade deadline approaches is a replacement for
the injured Marquis Daniels, who is nursing a bruised spinal cord and unable to
take the floor for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the Celtics returned from the All-Star break with their four
All-Stars intact and delivered a 22 point throttling of the Golden State
Warriors. It was a decisive victory and
a tremendous way to start their 4 game western road swing.
Celtics are clearly one of the most talented teams in the league, they have
also overcome a plethora of injuries this season. The injury bug continues to plague the
Shamrocks primarily at the center spot with Jermaine O’Neal sidelined until the
end of the regular season, Shaquille nursing a nagging Achilles injury and
doubtful for Thursday night’s game while even Kendrick Perkins appears doubtful
with a strained MCL.
That leaves 4th
stringer Semih Erden to pick up the slack and even he has recently missed time
with a strained muscle. Big Baby Glen
Davis will no doubt move to the post but that will force Pierce and Garnett to
play more minutes as they can no longer count on Super Sub Marquis Daniels to
spell them when Davis is playing in the paint.
Stats and Rankings
night’s game is a contest featuring diametrically opposed teams. The Celtics have a suffocating defense,
averaging 91.2 points per game good for 1st in the league but have
even improved upon that recently, allowing only 88.1 ppg over their last fifteen
The Nuggets, on the other hand,
don’t concern themselves too much with defense, ranked 25th in the
league allowing over 105 ppg but they certainly have no problems putting the
rock in the hole as they rank 1st in the NBA with a 107.8 average. Boston won the only game played between the
two clubs this season back in December with a 105-89 decision in front of the
Though the Celts have
won 3 of their last four by an average of over 22 points, the Nuggets have won
five of their last six games against Boston at home. Although it may take a while for the new look
Nuggets to gel, I believe the momentum from a decisive victory over Memphis
without Carmelo and company will be just what Denver needs to carry them over
the Green on Thursday.
The Celtics are
dealing with injuries in the post which will allow the Nuggets to clean the
glass and score points from their dominance down low. This is just another game on the schedule for
the Celtics but the Nuggets will welcome their new teammates for the first time
and be looking to prove that a solid team is better than a sulking
superstar. Play Denver +4. This play is also backed by John Ryan and his handicapping model, check his take on the game here.